Dan Pohlabel is a member of the all-conquering Team Sinclair F-TR squad. This talented group of shooters hasn’t lost a team match in years. What’s the secret of Team Sinclair’s success? Well there is not one single factor. These guys have very accurate rifles, they work hard on load development, and they practice in all conditions. In this interview, Dan Pohlabel talks about F-TR competition, reviewing the hardware (and skill set) it takes to win. He offers some great tips on developing loads. You’ll find a longer version of this interview on the Sinclair Int’l website. CLICK HERE to Read Full Interview.
Q: What do you find most challenging in F-TR Shooting?
It has to be keeping up with the competition, our sport has grown so quickly with new talented shooters. Staying at the top requires having a laser of a rifle, perfect loads, near perfect wind reading, and, of course, breaking good shots.
Q: How can novice shooters improve their game?
Seek out the local F-TR shooters and go to matches with them, listen and learn. Attend team matches and offer to score for one of the teams. As a scorer, you will sit close enough to hear the coach make wind calls and see the results on the target. Through the spotting scope you will see changes in mirage and it’s the quickest way to learn the basics of wind reading. Choosing and buying equipment is relatively easy, learning to read the wind is a journey.
Q: What’s in your range bag for match days?
Rear bag, towel, shooting glasses, canned air, ear protection, data book, pen, rifle rain cover, hat, rifle tools, timer, ammo, and bug spray.
Q: What specialized gear can you not live without?
1. A good set of elbow pads. It’s hard to keep concentrating on shooting when your elbows are rubbed raw from days of competing on them.
2. Good bug spray. We shoot from the ground but our shooting mats aren’t that big. It’s hard to concentrate with bugs crawling or chewing on you.
Q: Load Development — How do you work up a load?
First, I call Derek Rodgers and get his load data, he is the best load development shooter I know! Otherwise, here is the procedure I recommend. Measure throat length with bullet of your choice, to determine how much room is left in the case. The above measurement determines what powders you can use. We use only Hodgdon Extreme powders. Shoot a ladder test, five rounds each in 0.2 grain increments, to find the accuracy node for that bullet/powder combination. Take the best two loads and do a jump test with five rounds each, test at .005″, .025″, .060″ jump. One of these groups will be significantly better than the rest, now you can tweak that measurement +/- .002” or .005” to get the best accuracy.
Test at least three different primers to determine which offers a little better ignition for your load, a 5-shot test will usually tell you which is the best. Go back and test the two best combinations in a 10-shot test at least twice, pick a cool overcast day and also a hot sunny day and compare results. Take your final “best load” back and do a “simulated match”, 20 shots, waiting at least 20 seconds between shots. If you like those results it’s probably a reliable and accurate load.
Q: What rear bag do you use?
I use a two-bag system, large bag on bottom with a smaller bag on top. I had the bags made of marine canvas, zippered and filled with plastic beads. I can adjust the amount of fill to make them a perfect height for my shooting position. Teammate Jeff Rorer uses a similar system and mine is nearly a copy of his rear bags.
Q: How often do you practice and how many rounds do you shoot per year?
In good weather I practice a couple times a week at the local range, a couple more dry-firing practices/week at home. I typically shoot between 2,000-2,500 rounds per year.
Q: How do you prepare mentally before a match?
[I do] lots of visualization — run the video in my head of what I expect to see and of my performance. I think about the correct strategy for the conditions, staying disciplined to the strategy.
Q: What do you avoid before a shoot?
No late nights or excessive alcohol. Very little caffeine in the morning. Leave your cell turned off. Avoid emotional people.
Q: What’s your procedure on a Match day?
I arrive early, get squadding card, move gear, watch wind speed/direction, check over rifle and gear, sit and relax, visualize and focus on the most important goal of the day. Most days we shoot three relays of 20 shots. It’s important to eat and hydrate continually all day. My focus and concentration are better when I snack all day with fruit and energy bars, and lots of water. While taking my turn in the pits, I try to relax and only focus on what is ahead of me and [not] what’s already happened.
Q: What is your favorite reloading product?
My favorite reloading product is the Sinclair Premium Neck Turning Tool with Handle, I also use the expander mandrels provided by Sinclair for sizing the brass in preparation for the turning process. Correct and repeatable neck tension begins with turning necks to a uniform thickness. Sinclair also has mandrels to size the necks after neck turning that accurately size the necks for a specific neck tension.
Q: What is your preferred scope?
The scope I find the most useful is the Nightforce Competition Scope. This scope is very light-weight, has 15-55X magnification, world-class quality glass, 10 MOA per revolution on the turrets, 1/8 moa adjustments. It’s perfect for F-Class competition.
Q: What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into the sport?
Find a local club with some F-TR shooters and ask for their help. Most shooters will be happy to take you with them to a match, listen and learn while you’re there. You may find out it’s not what you thought, or you may be hooked. If you decide to jump in, start with an inexpensive rifle. This sport is expensive and you don’t need a $5000 rifle to learn good wind-reading skills. Start with a used Savage F-TR rifle and learn the basics, shoot for a year at least before making a larger investment. The money you saved buying a used Savage rifle will help pay for your divorce lawyer, LOL.
Q: What training drills do you use?
Dry-firing the rifle at home is a good way to practice when you can’t get to the range and shoot. It allows me to practice set-up, rifle handling, and position. When I can practice at a local range, I also dry-fire between shots to increase the amount of repetitions and increase the time spent in position.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence in shooting?
Eric Bair, 2006 F-Open National Champion helped me get started and gave me great advice. Most of the shooters on Team USA and Team Sinclair help each other, nobody knows all the answers but we share what we have learned. Danny Biggs, 2008 and 2009 F-TR National Champion also helped me when I was struggling to learn some of the ranges. I learned a lot from Danny.
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Nightforce is bringing out a new 20-60X 80mm spotting scope that is significantly less expensive than its 82mm big brother, the 20-70X TS-82. The new TS-80 Hi-Def spotter is priced at $1595.00 MSRP compared to $2653.00 for the TS-82 (MAP “street price”). Yes, you heard that right, the new TS-80 is more than $1000.00 less expensive than its 82mm big brother. That’s a lot of hard-earned cash saved in return for the loss of just 10X magnification on the upper end. Both spotting scopes feature high-definition glass and easy-to-use, full-diameter focusing controls.
At its $1595.00 price point, the Nightforce TS-80 looks like a winner. It shares features we liked in the more expensive TS-82: Extra-low-Dispersion (ED) glass, easy-to-use zoom ring, built-in sunshade, and rubber armor on the entire body.
The TS-80 offers a lot of performance for the $1595.00 price. Most other current-production spotting scopes with comparable features and ED glass cost a lot more. Weight is 68 ounces (4 lbs., 4 oz.) — that’s fairly hefty. The TS-80 will focus from 20 feet to infinity, making it suitable for all shooting chores, even close-range pistol work. The mounting foot fits many quick-release tripods and accepts standard 1/4″ tripod screws. The TS-80 includes an integral, retractable sunshade for the front objective. Optional accessories include a protective sleeve and a fitted carrying case, shown below.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Many of you may not have seen how Jerry Stiller’s innovative Drop-Port works with a 6BR, PPC, or Dasher case. Stiller Precision has created one slick system. Just retract the bolt and your case exits, nose-first, through a small port, coming to rest right under the gun. It works by gravity alone so you don’t need a conventional ejector, with the case alignment issues an ejector can create. (An ejector pushes on one side of the rim — this can push the case out of “perfect” alignment.) While Drop-port technology could, potentially, work with nearly any size cartridge, at this time, Drop-ports are only offered for PPC, 6BR, and Dasher-sized cases. Your Editor has a Drop-Port Viper action used with the 6mm BRDX cartridge, which is similar to a Dasher but with a slightly longer neck. It works flawlessly. Our Belgian friend David Bergen was kind enough to video his Viper Drop-Port in action:
Currently, the Drop-port system is available with the Viper action (both aluminum and stainless), and the round-profile Diamondback actions (but expect to wait a LONG time if you want the flat-bottomed Viper action). Because of the nature of Drop-port geometry, this system is optimized for short-length benchrest cartridges such as the 220 Russian, 22 and 6mm PPC, 6mmBR, and the 6mmBR Improved (Dasher, BRX, BRDX). If you plan to use a Drop-port with a Dasher or other improved case, you should tell Stiller Precision when you order. Also, if your gunsmith has not built a Drop-port rifle before, he should first consult with Stiller Precision, (972) 429-5000, to ensure the exit port is placed and inletted correctly in the stock. Getting the geometry exactly right is critical with this system.
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You’ve heard the rumors of a new ultra-high BC 7mm bullet from Berger. Well the rumors are true. Berger is now delivering its new 195-grain 7mm Elite Hunter Bullet, part # 28550. This bullet boasts jaw-droping 0.755 G1 and 0.387 G7 Ballistic Coefficients. Those are stunningly high numbers. Compare that to 0.674 G1 and 0.345 G7 BCs for the previous BC king amoung 7mm projectiles, Berger’s own 180 gr Match Hybrid Target.
We’re certain the “orange box” 195gr Elite Hunter will soon see use by F-Open competitors. This ultra-high BC projectile could be a “game-changer” in long-range shooting when used in cartridges such as the 7mm RSAUM, 7mm WSM and even bigger 7mm magnums. Recommended barrel twist rate is 1:8.3″, with a stated “minimum” twist of 1:9.2″.
We ran some numbers through the JBM Ballistics program*, comparing the new 195-grainer with Berger’s popular 180gr Hybrid. The results were eye-opening. The projected drop is significantly less. Most importantly, this new 195gr bullet moves a LOT less in the wind at 1000 yards. This should translate into higher scores for F-Class shooters — that wide ‘9’ shot may stay in the ’10’ ring. In fact, based on the JBM trajectory calculation, with a 10 mph 90° crosswind, the 195gr bullet will have over SEVEN INCHES less wind drift at 1000 yards than the 180-grainer (46.0″ vs. 53.1″). That’s a big deal, a very big deal…
Drop at 800 yards: 135.5″
Windage at 800 yards: 28.0″
Drop at 800 yards: 140.9″
Windage at 800 yards: 32.2″
Drop at 1000 yards: 237.9″ Windage at 1000 yards: 46.0″
Drop at 1000 yards: 250.0″ Windage at 1000 yards: 53.1″
Drop at 1200 yards: 380.1″
Windage at 1200 yards: 69.6″
Drop at 1200 yards: 404.2″
Windage at 1200 yards: 81.2″
* Variables were set to 55.4° F, 1000′ elevation, standard Atmosphere at Altitude, 2950 fps muzzle velocity. You can use JBM Ballistics to compare at different MVs.
How to Get Berger’s 195gr Elite Hunter Bullets
These bullets are so new you won’t find them on the Berger Bullets website yet. And few vendors have them in their inventory. Most of the early production runs have been “spoken for” via pre-orders. But you can send an email to Berger via this CONTACT PAGE. Otherwise you can phone Berger, Mon-Fri, at 714-441-7200. Please try the email option first.
Headed to Vegas next January for SHOT Show? Then get yourself registered. Registration for the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s 2016 SHOT Show is now open for attendees. (Registration for members of the press will open in September.) The upcoming SHOT Show is slated to run January 19-22 in Las Vegas. Attendees can register now at ShotShow.org. While registering, attendees can also enroll in SHOT Show University and other seminars. CLICK HERE for Attendee Registration.
NOTE: We recommend you consider making your hotel arrangements very early. Like last year, there will be a number of major events in Las Vegas the same week as SHOT Show 2016. This means that hotel space will be heavily booked in advance. Forewarned is forearmed!
SHOT Show Sampler
In case you’ve never attended SHOT Show, here are two video highlights from last year. These two videos, created by our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys, cover new-for-2015 Nightforce scopes and David Tubb’s recently released two-stage trigger.
Nightforce showcases its F1 First Focal Plane scopes, including the new ATACR™ 5-25x56mm F1™ riflescope. With a 34mm maintube, the new 5-25x56mm F1 boasts an impressive 30 MOA of elevation per revolution, with 120 MOA of total elevation adjustment.
11-Time National High Power Champion David Tubb displayed his new T7T 2-stage trigger for Remington 700 actions, a major upgrade over the factory trigger. First stage and second stage are separately adjustable. Price is $350.00 for right- or left-hand versions at DavidTubb.com.
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Need name-brand bullets? Here’s a way to save 10% on Nosler, Sierra, Hornady, and Speer Bullets. Here’s how it works — this weekend only (August 28-31, 2015) Wideners.com is offering 10% off ALL Nosler, Sierra, Hornady, and Speer bullets in stock (some other bulk-brand bullets are on sale as well).
NOTE: Widener’s says “The discount will not appear on the website or on your order at checkout but will be applied when we process the order”. We suggest you print out your order and compare that with the actual charge(s) on your credit card to ensure that Widener’s did, in fact, apply the 10% discount. As they say: “Trust, but verify“. The Sale ends at 5:59 am Eastern Standard Time 8/31/15. That’s very early in the morning on Monday so we advise you to place your orders before midnight, before you go to bed on Sunday, 8/30/2015.
Sale Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Experience and Youth — HV Grand Agg Winner Harley Baker with Hart Trophy Winner Henry Miller.
Report by Ken Frehm
In early August, many of the nation’s best Benchrest shooters headed to New York for the N.Y. State IBS Championships and 16th Annual Pro-Am Group Shoot at the Camillus Sportsmen’s Club (located outside Syracuse, NY). For this IBS event, held August 1st and 2nd, shooters were graced with two beautiful sunny summer days. Forty sharpshooters tested their skills against each other as well as the challenging, and ever-changing winds at Camillus.
Many competitors arrived early on Friday to see if they could get a handle on the unique conditions at Camillus. Our benches, as well as our facilities, have been newly renovated and a new tree line pattern influenced the course in an entirely different way. The 100-yard matches on Saturday were quite difficult as winds gusted to 20+ miles per hour and 180-degree shifts in direction were commonplace. Getting five in one hole was difficult at best. Good-natured grumbling, head shaking and “Where did that come from?” comments were heard from some top shooters. Yet, many managed to Agg in the twos!
On Sunday, the second day, the 200-yard matches were blessed with less fickle winds, and some conditions that even remained constant for a very brief time. Improved groups and scores reflected the kinder conditions that Mother Nature shared with us.
Top Shooters at N.Y. State Group Benchrest Championships, August 1-2, 2015:
HV Grand Aggregate
LV Grand Aggregate
1. Brushingham, Bob 0.2762
2. Baker, Harley 0.2870
3. Dolinsky, Brian 0.3002
4. Auman, Al 0.3007
5. Reed, Tim 0.3023
1. Baker, Harley 0.2469
2. Auman, Al 0.2538
3. Reed, Tim 0.2602
4. Brushingham, Bob 0.2605
5. Peinhardt, Wyatt 0.2664
1. Brushingham, Bob 0.2919
2. Hamister, Bob 0.2941
3. Miller, Jim 0.2957
4. Mitchell, Paul 0.3063
5. Dolinsky, Brian 0.3121
On the line, we had three youngsters competing. 11-year-old Henry Miller (from Malden Bridge, NY) proved that you don’t have to have gray hair to have low Aggs! Henry won the Clyde Hart Trophy silver bowl. New shooters (amateurs) as well as top experts were intermingling, helping each other and sharing their experiences. Of course a lot of good-natured ribbing was overheard. Amazingly, I didn’t hear a serious complaint during the entire two-day event.
There were many tables set up for ammo-loading activity under the pavilions as well as in our clubhouse. A number of spouses were there to help their better halves in any way they could. Many campers were in evidence as well.
Interview with Shooters — Challenges and Great Friendships
I asked some of the competitors, “What is the hardest thing for you? … What is the most challenging? They told me: “Having the patience to wait until things are right… as well as the mental game of conditioning oneself to be strong and to be a champion.”
I also asked competitors: “What is the most pleasurable thing about this sport for you?” In every instance the folks I interviewed told me that the best aspect of benchrest competition was “the People”. Having relationships within the community of Benchrest folks is what is BEST — No doubt about it!
My job of roving photographer/event reporter gave me a unique opportunity to see things in a new way and to gain insights from a wide range of helpful marksmen. My most important take-away was that this group of sportsmen (and women) are friendly, helpful, and genuinely nice people. What are the secrets to winning? They will share them with you willingly! Need help? They are there!
Hardware Report — Top Guns
Harley Baker finished second overall in the Two-Gun and took the HV Grand. Baker’s rig featured a Tony Leonard Stock, Bat Action, Krieger barrel, and BixNAndy trigger. Harely shot Sta-Moly Bullets with 30 grains of Vihtavuori N133. The rifle was smithed by Jeff Peinhardt.
Jim Miller, who placed third in the Light Varmint Grand Agg, shot JW 65g bullets with 30.0 grains of N133 powder. Jim’s rifle featured a Roy Hunter Stock, March Scope, and BixNAndytrigger.
Bob Brushingham won the Two Gun Overall. Bob’s rifle, smithed by Don Beaver, featured a Panda action and Krieger barrel. Bob shot Berger 65g Bullets pushed by 28.6 grains of LT32.
Many Hands Make Light the Work — Praise for the Volunteers
Many volunteers helped make the weekend a great success. Four different groups manned the golf carts that put up and took down the targets between each relay and match. Event Chairman, Bob Hamister put it all together. Volunteers from the Syracuse Police Department, as well as our club members and some of their kids joined in the effort. Camillus Club members prepared all the targets, the target boards, the moving backers and all the paraphernalia that was needed. In the clubhouse, three ladies and our club president (Bill Parfitt) manned the scoring boards, and the computers. Three ladies took over the griddle, delivering delicious food and drinks for the shooters’ breakfasts and lunches.
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Old Gun… New Gadget. Our friend Dennis Santiago has been practicing with his trusty old Springfield, in preparation for the CMP Western Games in Phoenix. To help improve his off-hand hold, Dennis has been using a laser training device that plots shot location on a laptop computer. Here’s a report from Dennis on his laser-enabled dry-fire practice:
Laser Dry-Fire Practice with Vintage Rifle
Something old, something new. Take a M1903A3 Springfield, put a laser in its nose, and practice your off-hand shooting until staying on focus with the front sight throughout the shot process becomes a reflex.
If the last thing you see is the front sight, the shot is in. If the last thing you see is the bull, it’s out. Simple as that. If you had told someone in the 1920s or 1930s that this much tech would one day be available to aid in training … come to think of it, it’d have made real riflemen smile.
Here is the receiving end of the laser beam:
About the Hardware and Software
Dennis was using the BeamHit 190 series Personal Marksmanship Training System. This interactive dry-fire training system uses a laser detecting device to transmit hits directly to a computer in real time. The BeamHit 190 software allows shooters to choose from multiple targets and even create timed scenarios. You can save strings of fire for later review directly on the connected computer. The included software is compatible with Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7. It seems like the system Dennis used is out of production, though EoTech still offers a 190-3 system through Amazon.com. The BeamHit 190 system has been replaced with the simpler Insight/Beamhit MDM1001 Portable Target System. This is less sophisticated and does not require a connected computer.
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We’ve all seen them — you know those guys who don’t follow range rules, or who handle firearms in a careless manner. Sometimes bad range etiquette is simply annoying. Other times poor gun-handling practices can be downright dangerous. The NRA Blog has published a useful article about range safety and “range etiquette”. While these tips were formulated with indoor ranges in mind, most of the points apply equally well to outdoor ranges. You may want to print out this article to provide to novice shooters at your local range or club.
8 Tips for Gun Range Etiquette
Story by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog
Here are eight tips on range etiquette to keep yourself and others safe while enjoying your day out [at the range]. Special thanks to NRA Headquarters Range General Manager Michael Johns who assisted with this article.
1. Follow the Three Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
2. Bring Safety Gear (Eye and Ear Protection)
Eye and Ear protection are MANDATORY for proper safety and health, no matter if “required” by range rules or not. It is the shooter’s responsibility to ensure proper protection is secured and used prior to entering/using any range. Hearing loss can be instantaneous and permanent in some cases. Eyesight can be ruined in an instant with a catastrophic firearm failure.
3. Carry a Gun Bag or Case
Common courtesy and general good behavior dictates that you bring all firearms to a range unloaded and cased and/or covered. No range staff appreciates a stranger walking into a range with a “naked” firearm whose loaded/unloaded condition is not known. You can buy a long gun sock or pistol case for less than $10.
4. Know Your Range’s Rules
Review and understand any and all “range specific” rules/requirements/expectations set forth by your range. What’s the range’s maximum rate of fire? Are you allowed to collect your brass? Are you required to take a test before you can shoot? Don’t be afraid to ask the staff questions or tell them it’s your first time. They’re there to help.
5. Follow ALL Range Officer instructions
ROs are the first and final authority on any range and their decisions are generally final. Arguing/debating with a Range Officer is both in poor taste and may just get you thrown out depending on circumstances.
6. Don’t Bother Others or Touch Their Guns
Respect other shooters’ privacy unless a safety issue arises. Do NOT engage other shooters to correct a perceived safety violation unless absolutely necessary – inform the RO instead. Shooters have the right and responsibility to call for a cease fire should a SERIOUS safety event occur. Handling/touching another shooter’s firearm without their permission is a major breech of protocol. Offering unsolicited “training” or other instructional suggestions to other shooters is also impolite.
7. Know What To Do During a Cease Fire
IMMEDIATELY set down your firearm, pointed downrange, and STEP AWAY from the shooting booth (or bench). The Range Officer(s) on duty will give instructions from that point and/or secure all firearms prior to going downrange if needed. ROs do not want shooters trying to “secure/unload” their firearms in a cease fire situation, possibly in a stressful event; they want the shooters separated from their guns instantly so that they can then control the situation as they see fit.
8. Clean Up After Yourself
Remember to take down your old targets, police your shooting booth, throw away your trash, and return any equipment/chairs, etc. Other people use the range too; no one wants to walk up to a dirty lane.
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DJ’s Brass Service now offers custom case hydro-forming to your exact specs. Darrell Jones offers this service for a variety of popular cartridges: 6mm Dasher, 6mm BRX, 6mm BRDX, and 6mm Shehane. After hydro-forming your brass, Darrell can also neck-up or neck-down the cases to meet your needs. For example, if you shoot a 22 Dasher, Darrell can hydro-form the cases and then neck them down to .22 caliber. He can also turn the necks to your specs (for an additional charge).
Darrell is a hydro-forming wizard who has perfected the process over the last couple of years. He has learned a few special techniques along the way to ensure uniform case-forming. Without revealing any trade secrets, we can say the Darrell has very special dies and Darrell doesn’t use a mallet or hammer — he has a system that is much more consistent. Darrell tells us: “Many of my customers take this brass and load it ‘as is’ and go straight to a match and shoot some very nice groups.”
Hydro-forming by Darrell costs $0.60 (sixty cents) per case with a minimum order of $60. Neck-turning is an additional $0.50 (fifty cents) per case plus actual return shipping. The turnaround is usually less than five days.
With Darrell’s hydro-forming service you don’t have to buy any special dies or other equipment. Darrell says: “Simply send me the brass you need or have it dropped-shipped to me along with a fired case that has not been sized. If you need formed brass for a new build (gun not yet fired), let me know and I will size the brass to fit within .001 of a PT&G GO gauge.”
For more information, visit DJsBrass.com, or call Darrell at (205) 461-4680. IMPORTANT: Contact Darrell for shipping instructions BEFORE sending brass for processing. In a hurry, don’t have time? Just call Darrell and he’ll make something work for you.
Hydro-Forming Customer Reports
Here are testimonials from recent customers.
“Recently had Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service hydro-form 6 BRX brass for me. The turn around time was very fast and the brass was to the exact specification I ask for. I actually shot the hydro-formed brass in a match [without further fire-forming]. It shot a 3.597″ — pretty amazing. Let DJ do the work for you!” — Mike Wilson (3 Time IBS Record Holder; 2013 and 2014 1000-yard IBS Shooter of the Year.)
“Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service went far beyond the call of duty, to assist me in preparation to shoot for my first time in an IBS match. I have had an interest in 1000-yard competition for many years and finally got the opportunity to try it. After researching the winning competitors, rifles, and rounds I ordered a Panda action with Krieger barrel in 6mm Dasher from Kelby’s. It was one week before the match and I had a rifle and no rounds. I contacted Darrell to hydraulically form 6mm dasher from Lapua 6mm BR brass. He formed the brass and had it in the mail the next day[.] Since I have only reloaded for hunting or magazine fed rifles I was not familiar with proper seating to allow land engagement of the bullets for 1000-yard accuracy. Darrell took the time to advised me every step of the way to allow me to shoot a 3.158″ (5) shot group to win my first round of my first competitive match ever.” — Mike Youngblood
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The folks at GunTalk have created a new mobile App that can help you save money when purchasing guns, ammo, and accessories. The free GunDealio™ App finds current special offers, discounts, and promotions. With 2,500+ listed retailers, GunDealio notifies App users of manufacturer deals or even store-specific specials in their area. GunDealio users also qualify for exclusive promotions.
Available for both Android and iOS smartphones, GunDealio also includes event listings, product news, Guntalk PodCasts and videos. GunDealio™ is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. More information can be found at GunDelio.com.
Hunters and tactical shooters need scopes with good low-light performance. For a scope to perform well at dawn and dusk, it needs good light transmission, plus a reasonably large exit pupil to make maximum use of your eye’s light processing ability. And generally speaking, the bigger the front objective, the better the low-light performance, other factors being equal. Given these basic principles, how can we quickly evaluate the low-light performance of different makes and models of scopes?
Here’s the answer: ScopeCalc.com offers a FREE web-based Low-Light Performance Calculator that lets you compare the light gain, perceived brightness, and overall low-light performance of various optics. Using this scope comparison tool is pretty easy — just input the magnification, objective diameter, exit pupil size, and light transmission ratio. If the scope’s manufacturer doesn’t publish an exit pupil size, then divide the objective diameter in millimeters by the magnification level. For example a 20-power scope with a 40mm objective should have a 2mm exit pupil. For most premium scopes, light transmission rates are typically 90% or better (averaged across the visible spectrum). However, not many manufacturers publish this data, so you may have to dig a little.
ScopeCalc.com’s calculator can be used for a single scope, a pair of scopes, or multiple scopes. Once you’ve typed in the needed data, click “Calculate” and the program will produce comparison charts showing Light Gain, Perceived Brightness, and Low-Light Performance. Though the program is easy to use, and quickly generates comparative data, assessing scope brightness, as perceived by the human eye, is not a simple matter. You’ll want to read the annotations that appear below the generated charts. For example, ScopeCalc’s creators explain: “Perceived brightness is calculated as the cube root of the light gain, which is the basis for modern computer color space brightness scaling.”
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Here’s an interesting new F-Class Barrel Block Stock from True-Flite NZ Ltd. in Gisborne, New Zealand. This innovative design features a fore-arm barrel block that clamps around the barrel, allowing the action to free-float. We like the way a wood lower section (with pistol grip) is mated to the metal “spine” of the chassis. That creates a nice look and feel.
The folks at True-Flite state: “This stock has been designed by Steve Mann, and was developed in house here at True-Flite. Utilizing a 150mm barrel block, which clamps the barrel into the stock (allowing the action to free float), enables us to fit large, full-profile barrels, and still keep under the 10 kg weight restriction when running a Nightforce scope. This stock tracks like a demon, making it a very competitive rig.”
While this chassis is designed for the New Zealand-made Barnard actions, it can also work with other round actions. Target Shooter Magazine notes: “The great thing is, because the action is unstressed, you can get away with using … a Remington — rather than forking out for a custom action.”
Barnard Model P Action from New Zealand
Here’s a Barnard Model P action, which was originally developed in 1982. These three-lug actions are very smooth. They are popular with Palma rifle shooters and F-Class shooters. Designed for the Palma or long-range shooter, the Model P Single shot action is available in right-hand or true left-hand configuration (with other bolt/port configurations in the Model PC).
The bolt carries three forward locking lugs, is equipped with a Sako-style extractor and can be supplied to accept any case rim up to 0.534″(standard magnum rim). The Bolt undergoes finish machining after hardening, and is hand-lapped to its mating receiver. The receiver is 4340 chrome/moly/nickel steel, through-hardened to 38 RC and finish-machined after surface hardening to ensure concentricity.
In this video Larry Vickers tries his hand at long-range shooting, with assistance from Gunsite Instructor Walt Wilkinson, a .50-Cal Champion. Larry shoots an Accuracy International AX chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum, while Wilkinson pilots a .50 BMG Steyr HS-50 rig. Wilkinson mentors Vickers, covering the basics of long-range shooting from bipod. Over the course of the shooting session, Wilkinson debunks some common misconceptions while Larry attempts shots out to 1470 yards.
This video is fun to watch, but understand that this is intended more for tactical shooters who will be satisfied with one-MOA accuracy. Wilkinson says that, with the kind of tactical rifles being used, and factory ammo, achieving one-MOA groups at long range is a realistic goal: “A one-MOA gun… that’s what you’re looking for. In most cases, with the … environmental changes, the ammunition, and the rifle put together, a one MOA group is really what you should expect [at best].”
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Didn’t get enough of Camp Perry this summer? Then tune in to Shooting USA TV this evening. Tonight’s episode of Shooting USA television spotlights the National Matches and CMP events at Camp Perry, Ohio. The National Matches at Camp Perry are the World Series of American shooting sports, attracting the nation’s top pistol and rifle marksmen. There are individual competitions, such as the Vintage Sniper Match, or the M1 Garand Match featuring legendary firearms. Then there’s the National Trophy Infantry Team Match, known as the Rattle Battle among competitors, simulating an assault by an Infantry Squad. Catch this episode of Shooting USA on the Outdoor Channel. NOTE: This is a repeat broadcast including footage from the 2014 National Matches.
Tubb 2000 rifle, left-hand version. Note how the butt-plate is adjusted for cant, angle, and drop.
The 1903 Springfield on Tonight’s Show
Vintage military rifle fans take note — this week’s show also features an American classic, the U.S. Rifle, Model of 1903, better known as the 03 Springfield. While its design was initially borrowed, its accuracy, quality and service record proved to be a fine military bolt-action rifle in the trenches of WW I and on into World War II. “It was a beautifully made gun, extremely, extremely well balanced,” says Firearms Historian Garry James.
Savage Arms has issued a RECALL notice on B.MAG (17 WSM) rifles after discovering that the bolt on some B.MAG rifles may catch the safety button and slide it forward into the “fire” position. This condition is primarily present if downward pressure is applied to the bolt too early while pushing it forward. While Savage has received no reports of accidents related to issue, the company will offer free retrofits of all B.MAG rifle bolts. Savage 17 WSM B.MAG rifles with a serial number below J800928 are included in this recall. No other Savage firearms are affected.
The bolt retrofit includes the replacement of the existing bolt handle and bolt cap with a revised bolt handle and bolt cap. The correct, revised parts are easily identified. The old bolt cap is conical. The new, corrected bolt cap is short and stubby. See illustration:
To avoid possible unintentional discharge or injury, do not use your B.MAG rifle until your bolt has been retrofitted with a new bolt handle and cap.
Savage has a dedicated B.MAG Recall webpage (http://www.savagearms.com/recall/bmagbolt/) and hotline (844-784-3301, Mon through Fri 8 am to 10 pm EDT). Use those resources to check your serial number, file a claim, and receive a free retrofit kit with simple, step-by-step instructions.
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With so much action going on at Camp Perry, Ohio this August (including the Fullbore Worlds), you might not realize that another NRA rifle championship was taking place simultaneously in Pennsylvania. The NRA High Power Hunter Rifle Silhouette Championship was held 6-8 August at the Ridgway Rifle Club, in Ridgway, Pennsylvania. This event attracted the nation’s top silhouette shooters.
At this year’s Silhouette Championship, Team Lapua shooters Cathy Winstead-Severin and Mark Pharr finished first and second overall. The match went down to the wire, with Cathy edging out Mark in a shoot-off for the overall title. Earlier in the competition, Cathy set a new Woman’s National Record in a 120-shot course with a stunning 97/120, breaking the previous record of 90 by seven points. Another record was broken by the Hunter Rifle Team of Cathy Winstead-Severin, Mark Pharr, and Mallory Nichols. This talented Team Lapua threesome set a new national record of 295, besting the mark set in 2004. Team Lapua also took second place in the Standard Rifle Team Division.
16-Year-Old Girl Finishes Fourth in Hunter Class
Team Lapua’s youngest member, 16-year old Mallory Nichols, was incredibly impressive as she entered the competition as an AA shooter and blasted her way through AAA into Master class in finishing fourth overall in Hunter Rifle. (She was in the running for third place overall, until a shoot-off with Eric Boos of Washington, who finished third). Nichols also set new national records for Long Run for Women and Intermediate-Junior hitting 18 pigs in a row. The previous Intermediate-Junior record was 14 set by Luke Johnson in 2011.
Winning Silhouette Loads
2015 Overall Silhouette Champion Cathy Winstead-Severin was shooting a 6-6.5×47 Lapua with 90-grain and 105-grain OTM Scenar bullets, pushed by Vihtavuori N135 powder. Mark Pharr and young Mallory Nichols were both shooting the regular 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge with 108-grain and 139-grain OTM Scenar bullets and Vihtavouri N140 powder.
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Note, this is a limited-time offer with Free Solution (August 2015).
So, what do you do with wet cartridge brass after ultrasonic cleaning or wet-tumbling with stainless media? Most of us just dump the brass into a plastic strainer or a colander, shake the casings a little to get the water out, then let the brass air-dry on a tray. We don’t recommend drying brass in a hot oven. If, by mistake, you leave your brass in the oven too long (or set the temp too high), you may slow-anneal your brass, which can end up weakening the brass.
If you can’t wait for your brass to air-dry naturally, there is another solution. Frankford Arsenel now offers a brass dryer that can dry up to 1000 pieces of .223 Rem brass or 2000 pieces of 9mm pistol brass. Yes, here’s yet another gadget for your man cave/reloading center. This unit employs forced air convection heating to dry brass quickly without water spots. This “Platinum Series” Brass Dryer features five (5) removable drying trays so you can dry different types of brass (without mixing) at the same time. Frankford says the max air temperature in the machine is about 160° F — that won’t over-cook your brass. And the “forced air flow” system distributes heat evenly.
Frankford Arsenal Brass Dryer Features
Specifically designed to dry brass after Rotary Wet-Tumbling or Ultrasonic cleaning.
Vented trays provide optimal airflow to minimize drying time.
Top-mounted fan, circulates up to 160°F air to quickly dry the brass inside and out.
Five (5) removable trays easily dry up to 1,000 pieces of .223 brass in less than 1 hour.
Free Cleaning Solution with Frankford Arsenal Brass Dryer
Currently, Grafs.com is offering a FREE 30-oz. bottle of Ultrasonic Brass Solution with every Brass Dryer unit sold. A $15.99 value, the solution goes a long way — you mix it at a 40:1 ratio with water. And, Frankford Arsenal claims: “Our Cleaning Solutions are so strong that they can be used for multiple cleaning cycles before having to mix new solution”.
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This is one of the finest shooting videos we’ve ever seen. Set in the scenic Fjordland of northern Norway, this high-quality 15-minute video is part Nat Geo travelog, part ballistics lesson, part gear review. We wish we had the opportunity to join Ulf Lindroth and Thomas Haugland on their remarkable shooting adventure. This video was originally created for Great Britain’s Fieldsports TV Channel.
This is an outstanding video, recommended for anyone interested in long-range hunting.
Long range shooters Lindroth and Haugland traveled to the Arctic Circle to field test a new .338 LM Blaser R8 (in GRS stock) fitted with a Zeiss Victory V8 4.8-35x60mm scope. (Ammo is Norma-brand .338 Lapua Magnum). The video shows how they confirm the ballistics of the Norma factory ammo in the Blaser R8 rifle system.
Ulf and Thomas initially test out the system confirming drop at multiple yardages, and then use the rifle for practical accuracy. Ulf says: “If you know your hunting will demand a long shot, and you want to push the limit but still be sure to make the first-shot kill… If you want to do an ethical hunt, if you want to push that limit, you have to do [this kind of testing].”
Ulf Lindroth (above) observed: “We shot [at 808 meters] observed the misses, clicked our way into the target, and now we have the true drop at that distance… in this air pressure, in this temperature. From there we can start working to find our TRUE trajectory. And when we have THAT… we can get serious about some target shooting.”
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Many of us dream of taking and making a shot at one mile (1760 yards). Well Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann pushed the envelope even farther during a recent ultra-long-range session at the NRA’s Whittington Center in New Mexico. On his Facebook page, Dustin wrote: “I earned the ‘One Mile+ Shot’ mancard this week with 1MOA Solutions. We reached out to 2,100 yards with the Barrett M99 .50 BMG out in the hills of the Whittington Center. You can see the target area marked in the center of the photo. This is a locked-down mountain range, with 30,000 acres.”
Bullet flight time was 3.7 seconds, drop was 94 MOA, velocity at target was only 1,100 fps. The 7,500′ elevation and a 5 degree down-slope helped the ballistics. Dustin reports: “About six seconds after impact you would hear the ‘ding’.” [Editor’s note: Yes it really takes roughly six seconds for sound to travel 2100 yards. The speed of sound at 7500′ elevation* is 1053.61 fps, or roughly 351.20 yards per second. The distance-to-target of 2100 yards divided by 351.2 works out to a 5.98 second time delay.]
One of Dustin’s friends commented: “We rarely think about what the bullet does after it exits, but seeing the 60% drop in velocity [over the trajectory] and how long it was actually in flight (3.7 seconds) makes these types of shots so amazing! Congrats to you making the One Mile + club!”
*This is with temperature corrected -30° F below standard at sea level.
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